7-8 Abril ¡Salute Pozo Rubio!

7-8 April
Robert Merriman’s diary for the 7th and 8th of April, 1937

Over the next few months, Merriman will have difficulty squeezing all that he wants to remember into a diary with a half page per day.  His hand will become smaller and smaller and more difficult to read.

He finishes his report on being in Albacete and meeting with Vidal and Marty about the new camp at Pozo Rubio.  It is remarkable that Pozo Rubio is even mentioned in the diary since the location of the Officer’s School was a big secret at this time.   “Maximville”, a photo from the Tamiment’s Russian archive, is believed to be at Pozo Rubio.

“Maximville”, believed to be at Pozo Rubio, the Officer’s Training School. Source: ALBA Photo 177_178029, Tamiment Library, NYU

Merriman admits that the morale was low amongst the Brigadistas.  The leadership of Brodsky was a serious issue about this time and Merriman had to win over the respect of the men who were senior enough to be considered for Officer Training.   It appears that by the end of April 7, he had begun organization of the men.

Merriman mentions Peter Hampkins who stayed at the school for some time in 1937.  Hampkins’ photo was shown on the April 2 posting.  Another name, “Guiven”?, is not certain.   Walter Garland is also seen in the same photo with Hampkins.   It appears that Garland was made head of the Officer’s School and he probably reported to Merriman.  Colonel Jules Dumont, who had been the Commander of the Commune de Paris 14th Battalion,  was Commander of the Albacete training base in February.  He is mentioned in this essay by Bernard Knox.   And there is a film clip of Jules Dumont speaking to the CGT in 1938.   Jules Dumont was executed by the Nazis in France in 1943.

Merriman mentions Walsh again (who was head of the NCO school) and “Epstein”.   The only Epstein in Spain at this time was David Epstein.  He and Marion met again at Albacete and Merriman ate dinner with Jock Cunningham of the British Battalion.